Olivier Du Tré is a Belgian/Canadian fine art landscape photographer specialized in the beautiful Prairies and Foothills around his hometown and the mighty Rocky Mountains to the West of it. His goal as a photographer is to capture the emotions he goes through when enjoying the vast, silent foothills around his hometown of Cochrane. Subjects often revolve around weather, clouds, loneliness and rhythms Olivier finds in nature. We had the privilege to interview Oliver and to share some of his best artworks, so don’t hesitate to check it out below.
Tell us something about Olivier Du Tré Photography?
I’m a 34 year old photographer who was born and raised in Belgium. Together with my wife, I immigrated to Canada 3 years ago. I was chasing a dream. I tell this story because I feel this was a big turning point in my life and changed who I am and therefore it changed my photography. I feel blessed that I was able to immigrate to this beautiful country and love every second of living here.
When I came here, the plan was to photograph in the Rocky Mountains with every chance I got. After doing this for about a year and a half I realized that this was becoming impossible to achieve. I simply could not spend the amount of time necessary to familiarize myself with the subject to become good at photographing it. So I started concentrating on places nearby. Rural places. That’s where I found my voice. This is what I want to photograph. I want to show the beauty of everyday, ordinary, rural scenes that everybody passes by.
Can you make a brief description on the pictures in this set?
I am a simple guy. I love simple compositions. I think that has a lot to do with the fact that I am a graphic designer.
In summertime you will often find me chasing storms and the light that comes with it. In wintertime I become a minimalist.
My work often revolves around silence, solitude, weather, light and trees. In every combination possible.
What’s your creative process like?
My creative process can go two ways. On one hand, I have an idea with a clear vision of what the photo should look like. I look for that particular photo in the conditions I think will be the most suitable. My ‘Volts’-series is a product of thinking in this way. Every photo has been premeditated.
On the other hand, I just drive the range roads around my house while keeping my eyes open. Searching for something that I like. This is usually how things happen. I love discovering new places, new roads and new areas. That feeling is one of the main drivers behind my work.
Lately I’ve been attracted to rhythms in the landscape. Rhythms made by grain silos, shacks, quonsets, trees, fences, you name it. It’s weird really because I used to hate these things.
Where do you find inspiration and why you like photography?
Creativity and inspiration can happen at any time, in any place. I am absolutely not worried if I hit a dry spell. Inspiration will come eventually.
I usually keep my eyes open all the time and make compositions in my head while I’m in the car or hiking. If I see something interesting that I could use in my photography, I usually take out the iPhone and drop a little pin on the map with a few notes. By doing so, that particular scene will linger in my mind for some time until I have figured out what to do with it. Thinking about weather and lighting conditions for example is also a very important step in what I do. Some scenes will pop in winter but will look flat in summer. Just to give you an example, I once waited 2 years to make a particular photo. But when the conditions are right everything goes fast, it’s like second nature. I don’t have to think about what I see, I just do.
You are a popular photographer among G+, how does this influenced your work?
Thank you for thinking of me as ‘popular’. I don’t think I am. Sure I have a nice follower count but that does not interest me too much anymore. I am there to share my work and to interact with the people who like my work. In the 6 months I’ve been on G+ I have build a nice relationship with quite a few new friends.
I just feel very humbled that so many people like what I do.
What are some tips you could give to people that really like your work?
Baby steps. Learn to walk first before you run. Learn composition and technique. Learn your camera inside out. Then start to learn how to edit and use Photoshop. Follow your heart. Be passionate about what you do and believe in yourself. Be patient. Find your photographic voice but don’t be disappointed if it takes a long time (I found mine after 10 years of photographing).
Can you name some great photographers that inspires you and why?
I don’t like to be inspired by somebody else’s work because I love to create my own art, follow my own vision. But I do look up to a few people.
First of all there is Darwin Wiggett. Darwin is my favourite Canadian landscape photographer and he is an all round nice guy. I’ve met him a couples of times and he is always supportive and very easy to approach with any questions (I pay him in coffee). He was the one that showed me the beauty of the Rockies and ultimately that was the thing that drew me to Canada.
Second there was Cole Thompson. Cole’s dark, black and white work moved me a lot. So much so that I actually stopped thinking in colour. I went back to my roots in black and white photography because of his work. His whole portfolio showed and proved to me that it was okay to produce dark and moody work and that I had to follow my gut. So I did.
And third there was Michael Kenna. In my opinion, THE master of minimalism. After seeing his video ‘Hokkaido’ I simply knew that I wanted to go back to film. A few weeks later I had purchased a new/old film camera. I am enjoying every moment shooting film with my new camera.
Dear Olivier, a great thanks for this fantastic collaboration. We are more than happy about the overall look and feel of the article. The sincerity, the passion and the ambition to create better pictures that you have is huge. Good luck in your journey of capturing the emotions